Emma worked as a librarian. It suited her perfectly. Books defined her life; books defined her womanhood. That she had never married, she blamed on her resilience to dominate and her no-nonsense way of looking at circumstances. A self-reliable woman, she considered herself to be a self-reliant StrongBlackWoman, who didn’t need a man. That the frequent use of her vibrator indicated an impoverished need anchored beneath the garbage hidden in her mind only popped up when Valentine’s Day neared. Then, she experienced three horrible pre-weeks like her menstrual period until the fourteenth had passed.
She banged her head lightly against one of the shelves in the erotic section and proclaimed to herself, “Valentine’s is just like any other day. Nothing unusual.” A big sigh escaped her lips, and she reached for Anais Nin. Even though she had been proclaiming this quote for thirty-five of her fifty years, her heart still had not accepted it. Stuck in her mind like burned rice on a hot oven, it failed to stop Valentine’s Day from stinking up her life and destroying her mood every single year.
Mihaly Toledano crossed her mind as she was thumbing through the erotic section, looking for a book that might break through her depression. Her books had given her everything she needed until Mihaly Toledano burst into her life and started coming to the library on a regular basis.
Sly smiles sent her way, winks when she looked up catching him looking at her, slight touches on her shoulders when he passed by her, and last week, he had reached over her head to get a book for her from a shelf she couldn’t reach and pinned her in with his body.
What’s wrong with him? Doesn’t he have anything better to do with his time?
She looked up, startled and embarrassed that he’d found her in one of the aisles of the erotic section.
"We're closed, Mr. Toledano.”
"On the door, it says closing hours are at nine, so I have exactly seven minutes," Mihaly Toledano said, taking a look at his watch before he came closer and took the book by Anaïs Nin out of her hand.
Mihaly looked at the woman before him; a spark had ignited between them when she helped him find a book over a month ago. Valentine’s Day was two weeks and four days away, and he had no intentions of letting another month go by without her being his Valentine sweetheart.
Her hazel brown eyes, the short nappy Afro, styled to fit her round brown face complimented her double chin that disappeared when she laughed, and her voice painted pictures of happiness in his darkened soul; she pleased him.
Just the right size, size sixteen or eighteen. I need to feel your flesh and not a bony skeleton; he thought as he looked at her thighs wrapped tightly in her jeans, and he closed his eyes, savoring the image of her that popped up in his mind.
“So how may I help you,” Emma asked, interrupting his train of thought as she extended her hand wanting him to give her her book back. “You now have five minutes to tell me what book you're looking for before I close."
"Actually, I was looking for something soft to read, but not exactly in this section. Something with a romantic touch, like Keats or Shelley, because I’d like to take you to dinner and afterward read you some poetry, but I’m opened to reading Anaïs Nin if that’s what you’d prefer."
“I don’t remember you asking me out Mr. Toledano.”
“Emma, we agreed to be informal with each other.”
“True. Like I said, Mihaly, I don’t remember you asking me out.”
“I just did, a few minutes ago. I said, I’d like to take you to dinner and then read you some poetry. Do you remember now?”
“Oh…was that asking? Well, if it was, then, No.”
“You’re too young for me.”
Mihaly saw their age difference as a minor thing. That he was 35 years of age never bothered him.
So, why should it bother you, Emma? Besides, I prefer older women, and the sparks told me you’re mine.
“Mihaly let’s be upfront with one another, Emma said, interrupting his thoughts. “What you’re looking for, I’m not willing to give.”
“I didn’t know you could read minds, Emma.”
“Then, how do you know what I’m looking for?”
Emma looked up at the man standing before her. His dark black hair shining under the lighting looked dark navy blue. She saw gaiety in his eyes, and she thought he was laughing at her.
“So what do you want?”
“Be my Valentine.”
“And then what?”
“See where these sparks are leading us.”
“They’re leading me home and your five minutes are up. I’ve got to close.”
“Good. Let’s get Shelley or Keats and go eat,” he said, replacing Anais Nin back on the shelf above her head where she couldn’t reach it without the help of a ladder.
“I don’t remember saying yes to dinner.”
“And I don’t like playing games.”
“I don’t either,” Emma said.
“Then, we’ve agreed on the first premise for our budding relationship.”
“If you say so,” Emma said, walking away from him to go get Keats.
“Is dinner on?” he asked, following behind her.
“In two weeks, you won’t need Anaïs Nin anymore only Keats,” Mihaly said.
“Why not?” she asked, stopping so suddenly that he walked into her causing her to stumble forward.
“Because you’ll have me,” he said as he reached out to catch her and bring her into his arms.
“So you think you’ll be my fantasy for a few weeks, huh?”
“Not weeks, Emma. Years. You’ll be my Valentine for years to come.”